Cast Iron

Peking Style Chicken with Pan Roasted Grape Hoisin

October  9, 2012
Author Notes

What do you do when you have a mean craving for Peking Duck, but no chance of getting one at the moment? Invent something with the crispy, earthy, salty, sweet, spicy, cool, crunchy flavor notes from things you already have in your fridge and pantry! Chicken thighs aren't quite duck, but their dark meat and crisp-friendly skin do the trick. And pan roasted grapes make a great base for homemade hoisin. And, add a few whole, for silky fragrant pillows to gild the lily. I didn't feel like fussing with making pancakes, so I deconstructed the whole dish and served it with wide rice noodles tossed with cucumber shreds, scallion and toasted sesame. It's an easy way to tide me over til my next trip to Chinatown. —EatArt

Test Kitchen Notes

My entire house was filled with a beautiful aroma when I cooked this dish. Chinese-inspired cooking is not something I do often, but this recipe was easy and the results were impressive. The tip on drying the chicken and pricking it (I used the point of a knife) was great -- the skin came out extra crispy. Cooking down the grapes took a bit longer for me than I had expected, so next time I will start that step first, before getting to the chicken. The Hoisin sauce is fantastic, and there was plenty leftover to use on other dishes. It'd be great on grilled pork! —MsNiagara

  • Serves 4
  • Peking-ese Chicken with Pan Roasted Grape Hoisin
  • 4 chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch roughly chopped scallions
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red miso
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Cucumber Rice Noodles with Toasted Sesame
  • 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles
  • 1/2 peeled and finely julienned cucumber
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions (white & green parts)
  • 1/4 cup shredded radish (optional -- but its slight bite is nice)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
In This Recipe
  1. Peking-ese Chicken with Pan Roasted Grape Hoisin
  2. Prick skin on chicken thighs and dry their surfaces with a tea towel. This helps to produce a nice crispy skin. Sprinkle both sides with 1 teaspoon of five spice powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a cast iron skillet, until oil shimmers. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, to pan. Don't move them once you lay them down. This helps your quest for crisp. After 5 minutes, cover pan and let cook until chicken is easily moved and no longer sticking to pan surface. That's how you know you got your crisp.
  4. Turn thighs over to cook on the other side. Add 1 tablespoon each of chopped ginger and garlic to pan. After 5 minutes, cover and let cook until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to another skillet over medium high heat. Add grapes and pan-sear them. Add remaining five spice powder, garlic, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and pan-roast the grapes until they are reduced in volume by about half their original size.
  6. Remove half of the grapes from pan and set aside. Continue to cook remaining grapes until they fall apart and reduce down to a thick syrup.
  7. Mix together the soy sauce, miso, cayenne, molasses, and vinegar. Add roasted grape syrup. Voilà -- homemade hoisin! Add whole roasted grapes and mix gently.
  8. To assemble, place chicken thighs atop a bed of Cucumber Rice Noodles with Toasted Sesame. Spoon hoisin over top. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
  1. Cucumber Rice Noodles with Toasted Sesame
  2. Add noodles to a pot of boiling water, cook until al dente and drain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and gently toss. And you're done!
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